Movies & TV Shows

10 Things Only Book Fans Know About James & Lily Potter

Perhaps the most important parental figures in fictional history, James and Lily Potter made the biggest impact in Harry Potter with minimal screen time. Fans of the Potter movies would recognize the Potters as phantom figures whose sacrifice protected Harry, and that they had a checkered past with Snape, but there were many facts and important nuggets of information about them that only existed in the books.

Book fans would know a lot more about Lily and James, since the couple’s lives, both in and out of Hogwarts, were elaborated extensively by Rowling in the novels. The young couple were some of the most accomplished young wizards of their time, and their loss was a great one to the community. Only readers would know this about the Potters.


James And Lily Had A Pet Cat

That fateful night when betrayed by Peter Pettigrew, the Potters faced the wrath of Lord Voldemort as he made his biggest mistake. And there was a fourth member of the family present with them.

In her last letter to Sirius Black, Lily Potter had mentioned their pet, a little cat who almost got killed because little Harry, only about a year old at the time, was zooming around on his toy broomstick. It is not known what happened to the Potters’ cat after the attack on Halloween of 1981, but it is possible it perished or ran away. This information from the book was not a vital element of Harry’s arc, which makes sense why it was removed from the movies. But, it does highlight how the cruelty of one man could destroy the future of a whole family.

Lily Was Sassy

While Harry did miserably at Potions, his mother was a master at brewing the right mixes. Horace Slughorn was a great fan of Lily Evans as a student because not only was she intelligent, but also sassy. The movies never really showcased this trait of Lily’s, which is a shame as the movie watchers could have understood Lily more as a person and realized why she was so loved by the community.

Slughorn called Lily “vivacious” and said that she always had “cheeky answers” up her sleeve. As a Professor, Slughorn enjoyed the witty banter with his young student (something which Snape wouldn’t tolerate on the job).

James Rescued Snape

Snape and James had many reasons, apart from Lily, to tussle over, but the young Professor-to-be had some things to be grateful for as well. When Sirius thought it would be funny to lead Snape to the Whomping Willow, where Lupin turned every full moon, and teach him how to get to the base of it, it was James who saved his life.

Had Snape gotten into the Shrieking Shack, he faced certain death. At the cost of his own life, James rescued Snape from this fate. This was a big deal, especially since the two were mortal enemies, but it also established that James was not a mindless bully, which is what he looks like in the movies. It made readers realize the nuance in James, but the movies lacked this characterization of him.

James And Lily Were Head Boy And Girl

Many liken Harry to James and Lily, but academically, Harry was not nearly as proficient as his parents were. In their seventh year, the two were elected Head Boy and Head Girl of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which means that they were definitely all-rounders.

When Hagrid came to get Harry to Hogwarts, he told him how the two of them occupied the highest position in school, which was a part of their legacy in the wizarding world. They were some of the best wizards of their time, which was described via exposition in the films, but fans never got to experience why that was.

They Got Married Right After School

The seventh year was also the time when James and Lily decided to give in to their feelings for each other (everyone loves a good enemies to lovers trope) and started dating each other.

Their relationship got very serious, very quickly, and the couple decided to marry right out of Hogwarts. Lily and James’ movie counterparts were much older-looking, but in the books they were very, very young — merely eighteen years old — when they got hitched. Their young age added to the tragedy of Harry’s story and also exposed how people were thinking during wartime, marrying early because there was no telling what the next day might bring.

Lily And James Entertained Wormtail In Their Home Before Dying

The tragedy of James and Lily formed the foundation of the series and Harry’s story, but it became even more heartbreaking when the details of Pettigrew’s betrayal were brought to light. Just days before he gave them away to Lord Voldemort, Wormtail had visited the Potters at their cottage.

Wormtail was made Secret Keeper to allay suspicion, but the day he visited the Potters, he seemed uneasy and low. Lily wrote in her letter to Sirius that she was worried about “Wormy’s” mood. Pettigrew was treated like family by the Potters, but none of that mattered to him. He sold them out in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, these crucial moments were not depicted on the big screen, which misses out on the opportunity to show what led up to the betrayal and what was going on in the Potter couple’s final days.

They Did Not Work Conventional Jobs

The Potters were a wealthy family, so James had a considerable amount of money in his Gringotts account, which he then passed on to Harry. This amount of gold meant that the Potters didn’t have to get jobs straight out of Hogwarts to survive.

Lily and James could start their family at a young age because of the financial security they had, so they didn’t really have any earning jobs, but they worked full time in the Order of the Phoenix. There was a lot of privilege in the Potter household, which contrasted greatly with how poor Harry was brought up till he was eleven.

Lily Once Compared James To A “Toerag” And A “Squid”

Little would young Lily have known it, but the man she would marry, albeit for a short period of time, was the one she hated in her early years at Hogwarts. While defending Snape, who was bullied by James and gang, she called James an “arrogant toerag.”

When he teased her and said he would leave Snape alone if she went on a date with him, Lily haughtily stated that a giant squid was preferable over the obnoxious James Potter. Their story was a true enemies-to-lovers trope, which the movies hinted at in some flashbacks scenes. But the movie fell flat on the details of this relationship, so movie watchers did not learn the depths of Lily and James’ complicated love story.

Lily’s Wand Was Willow And James’ Was Mahogany

Like almost all wizards, Lily Potter also got her wand at Ollivander’s, and hers was a “swishy” one, made from willow, and ten and a quarter inches long. The core was not specified, but the wand was one which was good for casting Charms.

James, on the other hand had a slightly longer wand, exactly eleven inches long, and fashioned from the more “pliable” mahogany wood. It was preferable for Transfiguration, which made sense since James became an Animagus in his school years. These little details hinted at the abilities of Harry’s parents, adding more dimension to their dead characters.

James Became An Animagus To Help Lupin

It was in the second year of Hogwarts that James Potter decided that he should try his hand at becoming an Animagus. After three years, he was able to perfect his form as a stag, but his motivations were far from just entertainment.

The reason why James wanted to become an Animagus was so that their friend Remus, who was a werewolf, wouldn’t feel alone in his struggles as he turned every full moon. He was a true friend to Lupin and took his duties as a friend seriously. James got a bad rap in the films, but there was much more to him in the books.

NEXT: Every Harry Potter Spell Used In The Movies And Books

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